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Topic: Ramanujan said Hindu Goddess Namagiri whispered equations to him
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Dr. Jai Maharaj

Posts: 276
Registered: 1/30/06
Ramanujan said Hindu Goddess Namagiri whispered equations to him
Posted: Feb 28, 2008 3:55 PM
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Ramanujan said Hindu Goddess Namagiri whispered equations to him

I posted the following more than a decade ago:

[ From: Dr. Jai Maharaj
[ Date: 15 Mar 1995

February 1990

Computing the Mathematical Face of God: S. Ramanujan

He died on his bed after scribbling down revolutionary
mathematical formulas that bloomed in his mind like
ethereal flowers -- gifts, he said, from a Hindu Goddess.

He was 32 the same age that the advaitan advocate Adi
Shankara died. Shankara, born in 788, left earth in 820.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was born in 1887. He died in 1920 --an
anonymous Vaishnavite brahmin who became the first Indian
mathematics Fellow at Cambridge University. Both Shankara
and Ramanujan possessed supernatural intelligence, a well
of genius that leaves even brilliant men dumb-founded.
Ramanujan was a meteor in the mathematics world of the
World War I era. Quiet, with dharmic sensibilities, yet
his mind blazed with such intuitive improvisation that
British colleagues at Cambridge -- the best math brains in
England -- could not even guess where his ideas originated.
It irked them a bit that Ramanujan told friends the Hindu
Goddess Namagiri whispered equations into his ear. Today's
mathematicians -- armed with supercomputers -- are still
star-struck, and unable to solve many theorems the young
man from India proved quickly by pencil and paper.

Ramanujan spawned a zoo of mathematical creatures that
delight, confound and humble his peers. They call them
"beautiful," "humble," "transcendent," and marvel how he
reduced very complex terrain to simple shapes.

In his day these equations were mainly pure mathematics,
abstract computations that math sages often feel describe
God's precise design for the cosmos. While much of
Ramanujan's work remains abstract, many of his theorems are
now the mathematical power behind several 1990's
disciplines in astrophysics, artificial intelligence and
gas physics. According to his wife -- Janaki, who still
lives outside Madras --her husband predicted "his
mathematics would be useful to mathematicians for more than
a century." Yet, before sailing to England, Ramanujan was
largely ignorant of the prevailing highest-level math. He
flunked out of college in India. Like Albert Einstein, who
toiled as a clerk in a Swiss patent office while evolving
his Special Theory of Relativity at odd hours, Ramanujan
worked as a clerk at a port authority in Madras, spending
every spare moment contemplating the mathematical face of
God. It was here in these sea-smelling, paper-pushing
offices that he was gently pushed into destiny -- a plan
that has all the earmarks of divine design.

Ramanujan was born in Erode, a small, rustic town in Tamil
Nadu, India. His father worked as a clerk in a cloth
merchant's shop. his namesake is that of another medieval
philosophical giant --Ramanuja -- a Vaishnavite who
postulated the Vedanta system known as "qualified monism."
the math prodigy grew up in the overlapping atmospheres of
religious observances and ambitious academics. He wasn't
spiritually preoccupied, but he was steeped in the reality
and beneficence of the Deities, especially the Goddess
Namagiri. Math, of course, was his intellectual and
spiritual touchstone. No one really knows how early in
life ramanujan awakened to the psychic visitations of
Namagiri, much less how the interpenetration of his mind
and the Goddess' worked. By age twelve he had mastered
trigonometry so completely that he was inventing
sophisticated theorems that astonished teachers. In fact
his first theorems unwittingly duplicated those of a great
mathematician of a hundred years earlier. This feat came
after sifting once through a trigonometry book. he was
disappointed that his "discovery" has already been found.
then for four years there was numerical silence. At
sixteen a copy of an out-of-date math book from Cambridge
University came into his hands. It listed 5,000 theorems
with sparse, short-cut proofs. Even initiates in the
arcane language of mathematics could get lost in this work.
Ramanujan entered it with the giddy ambition and verve of
an astronaut leaping onto the moon. It subconsciously
triggered a love of numbers that completely saturated his
mind. He could envision strange mathematical concepts like
ordinary people see the waves of an ocean.

Ironically, his focus on math became his academic undoing.
he outpaced his teachers in numbers theory, but neglected
all other subjects. He could speak adequate English, but
failed in it and history and other science courses. He
lost a scholarship, dropped out, attempted a return but
fell ill and quit a second time. By this time he was
married to Janaki, a young teenager, and was supporting his
mother. Often all night he continued his personal
excursions into the math universe - being fed rice balls by
his wife as he wrote lying belly-down on a cot. During the
day he factored relatively mundane accounts at the post
office for 20 pounds a year. He managed to publish one
math paper.

As mathematicians would say, one branch of potential
reality could have gone with Ramanujan squandering his life
at the port. But with one nudge from the invisible
universe, Namagiri sent him Westward. A manager at the
office admire the young man's work and sensed significance.
He talked him into writing to British mathematicians who
might sponsor him. Ramanujan wrote a simple letter to the
renowned G. W. Hardy at Cambridge, hinting humbly at his
breakthroughs and describing his vegetarian diet and
spartan needs if he should come to the university. He
enclosed one hundred of his theorem equations.

Hardy was the brightest mathematician in England. Yet, as
he knew and would write later at the conclusion of his
life, he had done no original, mind-bending work. At
Cambridge he collaborated with an odd man named Littlewood,
who was so publicly retiring that people joked Hardy made
him up. The two, though living within a hundred yards of
each other, communicated by exchange of terse, math-laden
letters. Ramanujan's letter and equations fell to them like
a broadcast from alien worlds. AT first they dismissed it
as a curiosity. Then, they suddenly became intrigued by the
Indian's musings. Hardy later wrote: "A single look at
them is enough to show that they could only be written down
by a mathematician of the highest class. They must be
true, for if they were not true, no one would have the
imagination to invent them."

Hardy sensed an extremely rare opportunity, a "discovery,"
and quickly arranged a scholarship for the then 26-year-old
Ramanujan. The invitation came to India and landed like a
bomb in Ramanujan's family and community circle. His
mother was horrified that he would lose caste by traveling
to foreign shores. She refused to let him go unless it was
sanctioned by the Goddess. According to one version of the
story, the aged mother then dreamt of the blessing from
Namagiri. But Janaki says her husband himself went to the
namagiri temple for guidance and was told to make the
voyage. Ramanujan consulted the astrological data for his
journey. He sent is mother and wife to another town so
they wouldn't see him with his long brahmin's hair and bun
trimmed to British short style and his Indian shirt and
wrapcloth swapped for European fashion. He left India as a
slightly plump man with apple-round cheeks and eyes like
bright zeroes.

Arriving in 1914 on the eve of World War I, Ramanujan
experienced severe culture shock at Cambridge. he had to
cook for himself and insisted on going bare foot Hindu
style on the cold floors. But Hardy, a man without airs or
inflated ego, made him feel comfortable amidst the stuffy
Cambridge tradition. Hardy and Littlewood both served as
his mentors for it took two teachers to keep pace with his
advances. Soon, as Hardy recounts, it was Ramanujan who
was teaching them, in fact leaving them in the wake of
incandescent genius.

Within a few months war broke out. Cambridge became a
military college. vegetable and fruit shortages plagued
Ramanujan's already slim diet. The war took away Littlewood
to artillery research, and Ramanujan and Hardy were left to
retreat into some of the most recondite math possible. One
of the stunning examples of this endeavor is a process
called partitioning, figuring out how many different ways a
whole number can be expressed as the sum of other whole
numbers. Example: 4 is partitioned 5 ways (4 itself, 3+1,
2+2, 2+1+1, 1+1+1+1), expressed as p(4)=5. The higher the
number, the more the partitions. Thus p(7)=15. Deceptively
though, even a marginally larger number creates
astronomical partitions. p(200)=397,999,029,388. Ramanujan
-- with Hardy offering technical checks -- invented a
tight, twisting formula that computes the partitions
exactly. To check the theorem a fellow Cambridge
mathematician tallied by hand the partitions for 200. It
took one month. Ramanujan's equation was precisely
correct. U.S. mathematician George Andrews, who in the
late 1960's rediscovered a "lost notebook" of Ramanujan's
and became a lifetime devotee, describes his accuracy as
unthinkable to even attempt. Ramanujan's partition
equation helped later physicists determine the number of
electron orbit jumps in the "shell" model of atoms.

ANother anecdote demonstrates his mental landscape. By
1917, Ramanujan had fallen seriously ill and was
convalescing in a country house. Hardy took a taxi to
visit him. As math masters like to do he noted the taxi's
number --1729 -- to see if it yielded any interesting
permutations. To him it didn't and he thought to himself
as he went up the steps to the door that it was a rather
dull number and hoped it was not an inauspicious sign. He
mentioned 1729 to Ramanujan who immediately countered,
"Actually, it is a very interesting number. It is the
smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two
different ways."

Ramanujan deteriorated so quickly that he was forced to
return to India -- emaciated -- leaving his math notebooks
at Cambridge. He spent his final year face down on a cot
furiously writing out pages and pages of theorems as if a
storm of number concepts swept through his brain. Many
remain beyond today's best math minds.

Debate still lingers as to the origins of Ramanujan's
edifice of unique ideas. Mathematicians eagerly acknowledge
surprise states of intuition as the real breakthroughs, not
logical deduction. There is reticence to accept mystical
overtones, though, like Andrews, many can appreciate
intuition *in the guise* of a Goddess. But we have
Ramanujan's own testimony of feminine whisperings from a
Devi and there is the sheer power of his achievements.
Hindus cognize this reality. As an epilogue to this story,
a seance held in 1934 claimed to have contacted Ramanujan
in the astral planes. Asked if he was continuing his work,
he replied, "No, all interest in mathematics dropped out
after crossing over."

February 1990

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

Hindu Holocaust Museum

Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy

The truth about Islam and Muslims


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